Getting a “bite” on a resume can be exciting … and a bit scary. It means that a company is taking interest in you, but that also means an interview process and that includes a bit of performance on your part.
The first thing you need to do is adopt a take-charge attitude: Being assertive got you this far and there’s no need to stop now. Also, your initial interactions with a company may involve someone from human resources who doesn’t know much about your field. In this situation, it’ll be up to you to explain why you’re the right person for the job.
Research, research, research
“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” – Confucious
Begin preparing for your interview by researching not only the company, but also its personnel – particularly staff members you’ll probably be interacting with. If they have a Twitter or LinkedIn profile, see what they’ve been posting lately to get an idea of their interests or disposition.
Once you know the company and some key people, write down a few narratives about your background as it relates to what the company is and what they’re looking for in a candidate. You can do this by starting with your ‘unique value proposition.’ For instance, if the company wants someone to work in a collaborative environment, think about two to three examples from your personal, academic or work background where you were part of a successful team.
If you can’t think of anything, list your top strengths and write out two detailed stories where an individual strength has come in handy. Make sure you lay out the context of the story, your role, what you did and the outcome.
Finally, be prepared to answer some tough questions. If you have glaring weaknesses in your resume, have explanations or reasons for why they are there.
Crushing an interview all starts with a first impression and if you’re nervous about getting it right, practice at home. Try to speak clearly and slowly, walk with confidence, and consider any materials you might need in the interview, such as a physical portfolio or resume copy. You can have a companion help you with this practice or even record a video yourself to see how you are coming across.
In the interview, don’t just be yourself. Be the most upbeat and enthusiastic version of yourself. Try to convey a genuine desire to start working at the position as soon as possible. If you find yourself getting nervous, take time before going in to think about a loved one or memory that makes you happy or enthusiastic.
Be sure to greet the individual interviewing you with a firm confident handshake. Build a rapport with you interviewer(s) by talking about them – this is where your personnel research should come in handy. For example, you could mention that you saw their profile on LinkedIn and found one of their posts interesting. Be careful to not get too personal when doing this.
At the end of the meeting, ask for the interviewer’s email so you can send a thank-you message within a day or two of the interview. In that email, reiterate how your strengths apply to the open position and your enthusiasm for the job.
At CAREERXCHANGE, we know the interview process can be nerve wracking. The best scenario going in is to have some interview experience or a number of prospects, and we can provide you with both. Just drop us a line to work with a top talent acquisition firm in Miami.